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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Love and Marriage: Three Questions

This being June, the traditional month for weddings (though I've never been married in June), I thought I'd ask some questions about matrimony.

I was very interested in the post from Gay Prof last month about gay marriage. One of the things he wrote: "What concerns me is that the discussion of same-sex marriage is largely being shaped without our input."

My heterocentric (is that the word I want?) self was a bit surprised to read that. People I know, including a member of a lesbian couple who is at the heart of a legal challenge by 44 couples suing for equal protection under the law. Elissa (in the picture on the left with partner Lynne) works for a local library.

Yet, I do recognize that well-meaning people DO assume what is best for others, not understanding how patronizing it can be. (I suspect men do this to women more than occasionally, e.g.)

So, I'm really curious:

1. To you, the idea of gay marriage is:
a) an anathema to all that is good and holy
b) a plot by breeders to make gays "be like them"
c) going too far, but those domestic partner arrangements are good enough
d) an idea whose time has come
e) irrelevant, because marriage is just a statist construct anyway

I choose d.

2. If gay marriage is allowed, how, if at all, will it affect heterosexual marriage? The suggestion that gay marriage will somehow threaten to destroy "the family" as we know it mystifies me. I must be rather thick, because I just don't get it.

3. A local story that has caught my interest is this one: Empire Blue Cross insurance policy covers the domestic partner of a same-sex couple but not an opposite-sex couple. The complainant notes: "Empire's own standards for domestic partner requirements -- as posted on the company's Web site -- were the same for opposite-sex or same-sex couples. He said this policy was discrimination." Presumably, Empire's rationale is that opposite-sex couples could, if they chose to, get married, while same-sex couples don't yet have that legal right.

How do you feel about this case? Does giving domestic partner insurance to opposite sex partners threaten marriage? I'm ambivalent, for I see Empire's point, yet, based on the application of law, I think they're wrong legally. Moreover, I'm in favor of getting closer to a universal health plan, and domestic partnerships, for either gay or straight couples, works in that direction.

BONUS: What makes a good marriage? And/Or: What makes a marriage work?

My answer: Compromise, but not on core values. That you share those core values.

Please feel free to answer these questions in the appropriate place. If you'd like, note your orientation and marital status (or would-be marital status).


Scott said...

I am heterosexual and in the my second marriage. My first marriage ended when my wife decided that a same-sex relationship was more to her liking.

To answer the last question first: I agree with your opinion, Roger. There always has to be give and take in any successful relationship. Sometimes it is tough to find what works best. But your point that the core values need to be shared is a very good and the most important point in my opinion.

For question number one I choose "d" as well.

For question number two, I don't think it would destroy "family", or what we think of it. Like has been mentioned before, there are plenty of divorces out there breaking up families and making it tough on kids. How would same-sex marriage make it different? Like you Roger, maybe I am thick and don't see it.

As for question three, I am not sure what to say, except the obvious. If they legalized same-sex marriages, then they should change coverage policy to only cover married couples of any orientation and their dependents. I am not sure how you can cover someone that isn't married to the employee. There has to be some limits of some sort put into place. If not, someone can rotate partners like a revolving door and give them coverage while living in the same domicile.

My whole take on same-sex marriage is that I support it. If it came to a vote where I personally voted, I would support it. If someone I knew was gay and getting married, whether legally or even if just in ceremony, I would support them. If it was my child, I would support them.

But one interesting point came up in one of those surveys to find out who/what you are on the internet. The question was would you vote for a politician that didn't support same-sex marriages yet fulfilled all your other qualifications as the "right" candidate? My answer was "yes." Though I support it, it is not something I would fight for come election time. Sure that's selfish, but there are some big problems that need to be taken care of in this country. Now the perfect candidate hardly (if ever) comes along. So take it step further, would I vote for the "lesser of two evils" even if they didn't support same-sex marriages? I am not sure what I would do in that situation which is actually more realistic.

ADD said...

1. To you, the idea of gay marriage is:

d) an idea whose time has come -- and I'd add, an idea whose opposition is fueled strictly by irrational hatred and ignorance.

2. If gay marriage is allowed, how, if at all, will it affect heterosexual marriage?

Well, I suppose some in-denial gay men who married out of fear of being outed might wonder if they made the right choice. As a heterosexual man who's been married for 13 years, it is blatantly obvious that it will have no effect on my marriage whatsoever, just like millions of heterosexual marriages that I am also not involved in have no effect on mine. The great thing about marriage is that the only people who can have an impact on it are those directly involved in it, however many they happen to be, and regardless of whether their pee-pees are on the inside or outside of their bodies.

3. Does giving domestic partner insurance to opposite sex partners threaten marriage?

Domestic partnerships, marriage or civil unions, whatever you want to call them, if they're available they should be available equally and without discrimination. And I agree with you, Roger, about universal health care as well. These issues point to the (pardon the pun) fundamental sickness of American society, a nation that can't talk enough about freedom and opportunity while its laws and national policies promote discrimination, cruelty and disregard for the health and well-being of all its people.

BONUS: What makes a good marriage? And/Or: What makes a marriage work?

Communication, trust, honesty and respect, hopefully aided by lust, affection, joy and at least one partner who is halfway decent with math. And did I mention lust?

Claire said...

The question about health insurance brings up two related questions. (1) why should your health insurance options be determined by who you sleep with? and (2) why should your health insurance options be determined by who you work for?

As a sole proprietor in a non-legally-sanctioned heterosexual relationship, my only option for insurance is to pay the equivalent price of a mortgage payment every month. I figure I'm subsidizing the rates of others who may make more money, but are employed by companies large enough to qualify for group rates.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!

Anonymous said...

Hi Roger,

I am a long-time friend but prefer to be anonymous on this one.

I dated a practicing bi-sexual for four years. I just didn't know, This was a deeply loving relationship but I couldn't abide this person being sexually active with others. It ended sadly with my exit but I've thought a lot about someone's sexual proclivities and have concluded that our sexual identity is determined in our genes.

I am not making excuses for the behavior of my bi-sexual ex and I admit that I still harbor anger that I never received an apology for the hiding and lies but I do believe that we all fit somewhere on the homo- bi - hetereo- sexual continuum, as determined by our genetic make-up.

Yes, I am saying that I believe homosexuality is as genetically based as bi- sexuality and homosexuality.

Thus, it is easier for me to view the marriage debate logically and without religious, cultural, or political bias and therefore to conclude that if two individuals love each other, allow them to marry.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.